New QuickPark owner needed to challenge DAA’s car parking monopoly at Dublin Airport

Car parking is big business for State-owned DAA and the CCPC was right to block its €70m purchase of nearby QuickPark facility

On Friday, the DAA sensibly raised the white flag in its attempt to purchase the QuickPark facility close to Dublin Airport and its 6,200 car parking spaces following the competition watchdog’s decision last week to block the €70 million deal.

The DAA’s statement said there was an “urgent need for more parking spaces at Dublin Airport and DAA now calls on the owners of the QuickPark site and any other potential bidders to act speedily to get the facility back open for consumers and to alleviate the significant strain that’s on Dublin Airport’s car parks”.

“Allowing DAA to own and operate the former QuickPark facility would have been a good result for consumers, bringing increased choice and lower prices for the travelling public,” it added.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) certainly wasn’t buying that argument, noting, after a near year-long analysis of the transaction, that a deal would “lead to higher prices and lower service quality for consumers” and give DAA a 90 per cent share of car parking at Dublin Airport.


Car parking is big business for DAA, as shown in its own filings.

In the year to the end of December 2015, DAA generated income of €36 million from 26,916 car parking spaces at Dublin and Cork Airports. Roll on to 2019 (the last full year before Covid-19 restrictions upended air travel), and DAA’s turnover from car parking at the airports had increased by 64 per cent to about €59 million from operating fewer spaces, 26,639.

Its income dropped to just €15 million in 2020 due to pandemic lockdown restrictions but it must now be well north of the 2019 figure given that the airport is operating at its 32 million passenger limit and the car parks have been sold out many times over the past year or so.

If DAA wants consumers to benefit from lower car parking charges it could reduce its owns tariffs – long-term spaces cost up to €15 per day while short-term prices are up to €40 a day.

In July 2019 (peak summer travel), Cantillon paid €52 at QuickPark for an eight-day stay. Earlier this month, the fee was €82 at one of DAA’s long-term car parks for the same duration. That’s inflation of 58 per cent in the absence of competition.

A new owner at QuickPark can’t come soon enough.